VHS cover art and behind the scenes special effects shots), I've decided to highlight something that makes perfect sense (especially to monster loving kids, as I was) but also makes you wonder how they got away with it.
Top Trumps, launched in 1977 by a company called Dubreq (who also made the Stylophone), was a hugely popular children’s game in the UK particularly with kids who delighted in the statistical nature of it. There were eleven different packs initially, each featuring 32 playing cards, themed around cars, sports stars, planes and military hardware amongst others, highly collectible and pocket-money-priced at 50p. Eight at the time, I was an avid fan and one of my favourites was the Horror pack.
Some of the stats make little sense (how can Death only have a Killing Power of 95?), some of the drawings even less so (why is The Phantom Of The Opera represented by The Abominable Dr Phibes, when he appears on two other cards) but to me that just adds to the delirious charm. Some pictures are clearly lifted from films (how on earth did they get away with that?), others are epics of invention (Granite Man, anyone, or how about Circus Of Death), some are puzzling (why is Godzilla wearing a shirt and bow-tie?) while others, like the Zetan Warlord, just make you smile. The scoring is also highly eccentric - King Kong understandably scores 100 on Physical Strength but his Horror Rating of 70 is beaten by the (much smaller and, to my mind, less horrific) Two-Headed-Monster who rates an 89.
|The Hangman and Lord Of Death are clearly taken from The Phantom Of The Opera (1925) with Lon Chaney while the actual Phantom card is illustrated with a masked Vincent Price from The Abominable Dr Phibes (1971)|
|More homages, with The Madman from "Doomwatch" (1970-1972), The Freak from "The Reptile" (1966) and the Two Headed Monster some wonderful Rick Baker make-up from "The Thing With Two Heads" (1972)|
|Taken from "The Incredible Melting Man" (1977)|
|Another appearance by Lon Chaney, this time from "London After Midnight" (1927)|
|The card back|
As for us, Dude & I will be settling down for a game of this (the perfect Halloween activity) and I’m thoroughly looking forward to it. I just hope I get Dracula and King Kong in my first hand...
with thanks to Hypnogoria for some of the history